Ballarat Radio Fest well attended by members

This Sunday the Ballarat Radio Fest returned and was bigger than ever. Lots of gear was on sale and prices seemed quite reasonable. Beautiful older equipment was also on offer. Many components and connectors were available. Warm congratulations to the organisers for a very professionally run day. Macedon Ranges Amateur Radio club members were present and took away gifts presumably for Valentine's day (that's right isn't it?).
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Friendly family day at Days Picnic ground

Beautiful weather for a well attended club family day. Starting at 10am and extending into the afternoon, members, partners and friends enjoyed a very friendly outing where we chatted and mingled in a lovely environment. Despite recent cool weather, the sun was intense and some of us chased the shade from nearby trees (which would make fine supports for antennas). It was great to meet some of the women in our lives and new member Richard, VK3LRJ, met people he's only ever talked t...
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FM on HF? We tried it out.

Tonight's regular 80m club net was good with strong signals but quite a bit of electrical storm noise. At the end of the net, VK3TPM suggested we try switching to FM. Most of us had never tried FM on HF and we were pleasantly surprised at how good it can sound. There were some problems with, what we thought, was over deviating. Dave, VK3ASE, had joined the net and he's done extensive experiments with FM on HF. Dave explained that what might sound like over deviation can in fact be noise or p...
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Reducing off grid solar noise

Richard, VK3LRJ, is a recent licensee and when he initially set up his HF station was disappointed with the high level of noise across HF. It didn't take long to figure out that the culprit is Richard's off grid solar and battery system. Some noise came from switch mode battery chargers but the vast majority from the inverter. Although he moved the antenna (an Off Centre Fed Dipole) from the building with the solar and battery equipment, noise remained quite high. A call to the in...
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Chef dazzles at club Christmas party

The weather has been strangely cold for where we are in summer but the RSL kindly lit the fire and we warmed ourselves with tasty treats skilfully prepared by the chef who was determined not to open himself to allegations of overcooking that arose last year. Delicious food was plentiful - our compliments to the chef! Joe gave a talk about the "integrated technology" unit which final year students can do in Victoria. He showed a prize winning project which involved Arduinos reading an ultr...
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New ham and new member VK3LRJ

It's always wonderful to welcome a new ham to the hobby. Richard has been preparing for the exam for 40 years (from when he first purchased an ARRL Handbook). Having recently scored 100% in the test you'd have to say he over-prepared. Located at Drummond, Richard has plenty of space for an HF antenna so to get him started I suggested an Off Centre Fed Dipole (OCFD) cut for 80m as this also gives him 40 and 20m on a single antenna. OCFD high in the trees He used a home made bow and arro...
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Rosebud Radio Fest

A few hardy members made the trip to the Rosebud Radio Fest this year and it was well worth while. A fantastic range of older gear was on display and there was a stand from Icom there as well. The hall was full of interesting people and radio gear The talks were excellent with Robert, VK3XP on QRM; Peter, VK3YE, on portable operation; and Tony VK3JED (from Bendigo) on the M17 digital mode for VHF and above. VK3XP finding power line noise VK3YE pedestrian mobile VK3JED on M17
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Meeting discusses Class Licensing implications

Saturday's meeting primarily discussed the ramifications of the proposal by ACMA to change the way Amateur radio operators are licensed from next year. The ACMA proposal combines a relatively minor change regarding higher power operation along with a fundamental change to licensing. We urge you to read the proposal and the draft response being prepared by the WIA. https://youtu.be/kEFLPiaCNpA Also if you're a member of the WIA, please complete the survey you should have been sent ...
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Quiet meeting during floods

The widespread rain this week in Victoria led to the club's planned JOTA activities being cancelled for this year. Not damp at all There were many stories of local flooding and road damage or closures. Joe, VK3MAB presented his Arduino based morse code device that can decode hand keyed morse and shows the characters both on an LCD display and via the serial port. Joe, VK3MAB, with a mix of new and old technology
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Speleology and an impressive transceiver

Graeme, VK3CDO gave the keynote presentation at Saturday's club meeting at Woodend. Modern AV equipment was used to good effect Graeme gave an excellent account of various caves he's explored and spoke enthusiastically about caves in Tasmania. Many of us did not know that a true hero was in our midst as we learned that Graeme had been urgently recruited to rescue a boy who had become trapped by a rock fall in a cave in Tasmania. A surgeon was taken along who was ready to amputat...
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